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Where are they now?

Where are they now: Challenge winner Katrina Johnston

As we approach the first anniversary of Canada Writes, we're checking in with our inaugural "Hall of Famers"—the winners of our first year's worth of writing challenges. Up now: Katrina Johnston, the winner of our 
"True Winter Tales" writing challenge 
held last December.

What's new with you these days?

I’m writing part-time and enjoying James Bay in Victoria, BC. Still freaked out when I try to walk on the Ogden Point Breakwater—like I might tumble or sploosh.

How's the writing coming along? Any new writing projects?

I managed to get a couple of short stories accepted and published online. I’m working on a short piece about an abusive wife who shoves her husband down the stairs.

How did winning the "True Winter Tales Challenge" affect your writing, and how you felt about writing?

Winning the True Winter Tale helped lift me up. I had previously participated in a local writing event where I didn’t fare very well—so the win at CBC/CW restored my courage. I’ll always feel proud of the True Winter Tale—no matter where I venture from here. I try to remember what fun it was when I actually sat there and wrote the story.

Have you entered any other Canada Writes challenges since, or kept up with what's been going on?

Yes, I did enter some of the other CBC challenges—except not Twitter, which seemed like a call for a joke rather than a story. Aside from Canada Writes, I particularly enjoyed Elmore  Leonard’s “bad” writing challenge. Suddenly, great gobs of miserable dialect and convolution with cliché.

What about the CBC Literary Prizes? Have you thought about submitting?

I follow the Canada Writes website and the literary prizes for fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes I comment but I probably will not enter the main literary prizes. I am most grateful for the writing advice shared by some of the experts on the site.

The prize for winning the True Winter Tales Challenge was $1,000 from the Canada Council. When we spoke to you last year, you were planning to spend it on your grandson. Did you put the prize to good use?

Most of the prize money went for an eye exam and bifocals. I am grateful. Now that I can see better—maybe I’ll find those annoying copy-editing boo-boos. Happy writing to all challenge participants, especially my pal DW.

Read Q&As with other Writing Challenge Hall of Famers:

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